And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua
Which some understand of the children of Manasseh only; and, indeed, the complaint and arguments used, as well as some circumstances in the account, best agree with them; yet certain it is, that the children of Ephraim accompanied the children of Manasseh, and were present at this interview, as appears from ( Joshua 17:17 ) ; and if they did not join with them in the request and complaint expressly, they countenanced and encouraged the same by their presence:
saying, why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit:
this seems to suit better with one than both; for there was a lot for the tribe of Manasseh also, as well as for Ephraim, ( Joshua 17:1 ) ; by which it should seem that there were two, and if both made this expostulation, it was not fact; but it may be, that the inheritance which came to them by lot was not as yet divided, and so they called it one lot and one portion, and then it might with propriety be said by them both; and their sense be, that the lot or portion assigned them was only sufficient for one of them, and not for both:
seeing I [am] a great people;
as especially both tribes put together were;
forasmuch as the Lord hath blessed me hitherto?
this best agrees with the tribe of Manasseh, which, since their coming out of Egypt, was increased twenty thousand five hundred, whereas the tribe of Ephraim was decreased; compare ( Numbers 1:33 Numbers 1:35 ) with ( Numbers 26:34 Numbers 26:37 ) . Now it might have been expected by them, that as Joshua was of the tribe of Ephraim, that he would have favoured their cause on that account, and that they should have obtained the grant of an addition by that means; but Joshua was impartial in his administration, and showed no favour and affection on that score, as appears by what follows.